Kelly Shoppach traded to Mets
CINCINNATI -- The New York Mets acquired veteran catcher Kelly Shoppach from the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday for a player to be named. The Red Sox had placed Shoppach on waivers and the Mets put a claim on him.
Mets manager Terry Collins said Shoppach should begin platooning with Josh Thole, playing against left-handers, when he arrives. He is not expected to be in Cincinnati in time for Tuesday night's game and the club has yet to make a move to clear room on the 25-man roster.
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The Reds have all right-handers in their starting rotation, so Shoppach may not see his first start until the Mets get to Washington to begin a three-game series on Friday.
"He's going to catch certainly against the lefthanders. That's one of the reasons why we got him," said Collins. "I know one of the reasons we want to take a look at him the last six weeks here is to see how he'll fit."
Shoppach, 32, is in his eighth season. He hit .250 with five home runs and 17 RBI in 48 games with the Red Sox this season. He originally was drafted by Boston in the second round of the 2001 amateur draft and made his first Major League appearance with the Red Sox in 2005 before being traded to Cleveland in January 2006. He spent four seasons with the Indians and the last two with Tampa Bay before returning to Boston this past offseason as a free agent.
Shoppach is due to become a free agent again this coming offseason. Collins didn't dismiss the possibility the Mets could pursue re-signing him to continue working in a platoon with Thole, who is hitting .260 this season in 80 games but has just one home run and 18 RBIs in 250 at-bats.
Shoppach has 64 career home runs; 33 against righties and 31 against lefties. He has had close to twice as many plate appearances against right-handers (1,070) than he has against left-handers (571).
"This guy (Shoppach) has some good power so hopefully he can help out," said Collins. "When we came out of spring training I thought the guys would complement each other. I didn't expect home runs. I thought we'd get it elsewhere in the lineup. Certainly this guy will bring some added power to the lineup."
Thole has received the majority of playing time this season at catcher. Mike Nickeas started 33 games but was optioned back to Triple-A Buffalo on July 26 and replaced by Rob Johnson. Johnson has started 15 games this season in two stints with the Mets.
Thole, who was converted to catching in 2008 after spending the first three pro seasons at first base, said he had only just heard of the trade while sitting at his locker during pre-game.
"I just heard through the grapevine that that had happened so it's tough to speak into it," said Thole. "You go about your business no matter what. If you're on the chopping block or not it's one of those things. You go out, do your job and see what happens."
Kevin Goheen is a contributor for ESPNNewYork.com
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